Bentley spends €2.9 million as it looks to release five new BEVs by 2030

27 January 2022

Bentley Motors plans to spend £2.5 billion (€2.9 billion) over the next decade as it strives to become an all-electric brand by 2030. The Volkswagen-owned British-based luxury carmaker said the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) will roll off the production line in 2025, followed by one new BEV each year through to 2030, totalling five new vehicles.

The manufacturer’s switch to BEV powertrains is part of its ‘Beyond 100 strategy’, set out in November 2020 when Bentley emphasised it would be carbon-neutral by the end of this decade. The company has high ambitions and said it aims to set a benchmark in sustainable luxury mobility that would make it financially resilient and recession-proof.

Dream factory?

The multi-billion investment will include research and development, as well as upgrades to Bentley’s iconic site in Crewe, UK, that will help boost the local economy and preserve 4,000 jobs. The company wants to turn the plant into a carbon-neutral ‘dream factory’, with a clear focus on digitisation and high-value manufacturing.

‘Beyond100 is the boldest plan in Bentley’s illustrious history, and in the luxury segment. It is an ambitious and credible roadmap to carbon neutrality of our total business system, including the shift to 100% BEV in just eight years,’ said Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. ‘Our aim is to become the benchmark not just for luxury cars or sustainable credentials but the entire scope of our operations. Securing production of our first BEV in Crewe is a milestone moment for Bentley, and the UK, as we plan for a long-term sustainable future in Crewe.’

The carmaker wants to apply a ‘go-to-zero approach’ in manufacturing to limit the environmental impact of its operations. This includes cutting water consumption and waste to landfill for every vehicle built at its Crewe site to a minimum by 2030. Energy production will take a central role, with Bentley increasing the number of solar panels from 30,000 to 40,000 in the coming two years.

Big shift

The investment programme will result in a complete transformation of Bentley’s product portfolio. The announcement marks a major transformation for the carmaker, which is known for its large ultra-luxurious vehicles that come with eight- and 12-cylinder engines that, in some cases, cost millions of euros.

Across the industry, major OEMs have been investing in new technology and rolling out their electrification targets as a ban on fossil-fuel cars looms in the air. Bentley’s parent company Volkswagen (VW) Group aims to lead the way, having set a strategic target to become a global market leader in electric-vehicle sales in the coming years.

Until Bentley fully transitions to BEVs, it will rely on plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The carmaker is planning to release its Flying Spur PHEV in 2022, the second Bentley hybrid to be launched. It sells the Bentayga PHEV, with Bentley saying more than 20% of its sales this year would come from plug-in models.

‘This latest announcement regarding Bentley’s Beyond100 plan confirms the initiation of a major transformative phase in the company’s long and illustrious history,’ added Hallmark. ‘The world is changing and we need to play our part in neutralising our environmental impact. That means delivering on our aim to be end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030, and reaffirming our role as the leader in sustainable luxury mobility.’

Earlier this month, Bentley reported a record year in 2021 as global sales surged 31% year on year with strong demand for high-end vehicles. Last year, sales rose to 14,659 units from 11,206 in 2020 despite shutdowns caused by the ongoing pandemic.